I love tradition. Maybe it’s the ritual of it all, gathering once a year to celebrate occasions, or the idea of large groups of people celebrating a single holiday or event in many different ways. Growing up in the rocky terrain of Southwest Missouri, the ritual of picking out the perfect Christmas tree consisted of visiting our local hardware store under not-so festive fluorescent lights. While it may not seem like the most idyllic scene, it is a tradition I looked forward to year after year of my childhood.
Fast forward to my first Christmas as a newlywed and surrounded by the lush terrain of Mid-Missouri, I could not contain my excitement when I learned of a Christmas tree farm about forty-five minutes from Columbia. A Christmas tree farm was something I had believed was exclusive to New Englanders in L.L. Bean catalogs, a far cry from the pre-selected Christmas trees at Lowe’s I was accustomed to.
My husband Bradley and I loaded up our St. Bernard, Ellie, into our Subaru and took off to select the perfect Christmas tree. As we drove up to the farm, we were greeted by acres of Christmas trees. I scanned the field and saw everything from the smallest Charlie Brown Christmas tree, to the mammoth-sized Griswold Family Christmas trees. We were greeted with a warm Midwestern hello, handed a bow saw (Yikes) and dropped off by way of tractor to our destination.
Admittedly, my husband and I were overwhelmed by the sheer selection of trees. Douglas fir or Scotch pine? Should we play it safe and pick out a smaller tree, or go for a tree that would barely fit in our apartment? We wandered, and wandered; all while critiquing each tree we passed. After a roughly 45 minute search, we had found what we were looking for, a beautiful eight-foot Douglas fir.
Naively, we thought the hardest part of the job was over, until we had to saw the tree by hand and pull it roughly a quarter of a mile to our pick-up location. Talk about a work out! The sight of the tractor coming down the hill was a welcome one, and our tree was loaded onto a trailer to be trimmed down and netted. As we waited for our tree to be loaded onto our car, we were warmed by an iron stove and hot apple cider.
Driving home with our tree safely strapped to our car, I couldn’t help but smile at the idea of the new tradition I had just made with my husband. We lugged our tree into our apartment and laughed heartily as the top scraped our ceiling and the sheer size of the tree taking half of our dining room. As newlyweds, we had been adjusting and melding our respective families’ traditions and routines into our own, and the visit to the Christmas tree farm and our story of the too-big Christmas tree was unique to our new family and the start of a new tradition.
:: Angela ::
Psst..if you're looking to cut down your own Christmas tree in the future and you're in the area, definitely check out Starr Pines!